This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 18, 2006 5:36 AM. The previous post in this blog was Measure 47: null and void. The next post in this blog is All fall down. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Blogger in jail

I'm surprised that this has not gotten more major media play, but a blogger has been rotting in jail for nearly three months for refusing to turn over to the police a video that he has of a demonstration. And he may rot there until July. Welcome to Amerika! The Times article on the fellow is here. His blog (or what it's morphed into, now that he's in the can) is here.

Comments (15)

Just because someone refuses to co-operate with the police, doesn't mean they're right, Jack. I see your point and all, but this is the wrong situation in which to utter "Amerika."

Whether or not an individual refuses to cooperate with authorities is not the issue here andy. I think this is yet another glaring example of how Amerika is becoming less of a free society and turning more towards a police state.

In this case, a man is sitting in federal prison to be taught a lesson. The video in question isn't going to help solve a major crime or bring down a terrorist. It is simply a case of the government attempting to intimidate a citizen.

Viddy, I see your point (the same as Jack's) but you're both still wrong.

Hiding proof of someone hurting others is wrong, morally and legally. In this case the 'bad guy' is cops, so some camps feel it is ok to not cooperate. Change the names involved to folks you feel sympathy for, and your feelings towards the guy in jail would change.

Am I missing something here? This guy follows and tapes "anarchists" who put either a smoke bomb or fireworks under a police car. In addition a policeman was injured and property damage occured.

The guy is in jail for refusing to cooperate with the grand jury investigating the incident. However, he is more than willing to sell some of the video to local TV stations and his lawyer has offered the full tape in exchange for release and exclusion from grand jury testimony.

What's this guy trying to hide? He probably knows the names and addresses of the "anarchists" and had prior knowledge of their plan.

Also, the defendants' would-be claim to "protect his sources" isn't the issue - "he had to protect the identities of those on the tape." The guy in jail is hiding someone who put a flame under a police car. Period.

I thought Jack was better than siding with the guy in jail... A guy who is hiding the-person-or-people who had injured police officers after placing a smoke-bomb/firework under a police car. It appears I was wrong.

I don't think the NYT article does the subject justice.

For one thing, my understanding is that the media broadcast the footage from his website without his permission and only later "compensated" him for it. That's not exactly the same thing as "selling" it.

The case is a bit more complicated than the article suggests. There are political issues -- like why it is being tried at a federal level rather than local, that kind of thing...

Oh, and who made Andy an authority on moral and legal issues?

The "if you don't cooperate, then you must be guilty" mentality never ceases to amaze me.

And suggesting the blog host isn't "better than" the person one has just assailed as some kind of accomplice to terrorism? Smooth!

He's in jail for refusing to obey a federal court order.

He claims that he's protected by the California Shield Law. The 9th Circuit Court (easily the most liberal in the nation) ruled that he's not, because the California Shield Law requires that the journalist be employed by a newspaper, magazine, wire service, etc. Joe Blow can't just invoke the shield law anytime he likes.

As other commenters have pointed out, he's not protecting a source. He's refusing to turn over evidence of a crime that caused property damage and injuries. The fact that it was a crime against the government does not make it ok.

Aaron --

The California "Shield Law" is irrelevant to this discussion.

Despite the inflated egos of the members of the California legislature nothing the California, or any other state legislature, does has the slightest effect upon the operations of the federal district courts or federal grand juries. Article III of the US Constitution; Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the US Constitution, and Titles 18 / 28 of the US Code are the exclusive and pre emptive constitutional and statutory underpinnings of the powers of a federal court.

The California "Shield Law" is less than a weak PHART in the wind by comparison.

And the "reporter" ought to be in jail for the duration of the term of the grand jury; the grand jury term should be extended as many times as necessary to extend until the day the statute of limitations runs out, and the "reporter" should be kept in jail until that date or until he testfies, whichever comes first.

I feel zero sympathy for this clown. He deserves to rot in his cell for as long as necessary. These "protesters" are nothing more then cowards as if they truly believed in their "cause", they wouldn't destroy, deface and otherwise damage property that is not their's to damage, and do so in masks. Have some guts and state your case in front of a camera without hiding behind a bandana.

This guy is nothing more then a pub whore and a more than likely, a rich kid who never got attention as a kid, and is trying to get it now by running under the moniker of "anarchist" and ignoring repeated, valid requestest's for information leading to the rightful arrest and prosecution of the punk and/or punks who deserve to be in jail for their crimes.

I have no problem with protest, but blocking streets, destroying property and disrupting other people's lives to prove your point does just the opposite.

The California Shield Law is relevant because that was his defense strategy. As you noted, it's a failing strategy.

Aaron --

The federal court never need reach the issue of whether the "reporter" is "...employed by a newspaper, magazine, wire service..." etc. because the California legislature and the "Shield Law" it enacted has / have no power to affect the operations of the federal district or federal grand jury.

Thats always the threshold question.

Once the question of the authorty / power or non power / authority of the silly Califonia Legislature to effect federal courts is answered in the negative, the federal court never has to deal with the issue of the "reporter's" status as a journalist under the definitions of the California Shield law.

Thus, the California shield law is irrelevant. Its less than a PHART in the wind.

That the "reporter's" lawyers foolishly chose to rely upon an irrelevant state statutory provision might give the "reporter" a mal practice claim against his lawyers, but it doesn't give the "reporter" a key to his jail cell. It does demonstrate that the defense lawyers are no more lawyers than the "reporter" is a reporter.

The defense lawyers reliance on the California Shield Law is far less than a "failing strategy". Its a strategy that never started, much less failed.

The article keeps jumping around...so which is it? Is he a "blogger" who thinks he is a journalist, or a "freelance journalist" with a blog?

>> I have no problem with protest, but blocking streets, destroying property and disrupting other people's lives to prove your point does just the opposite.

It's too bad you can't go back in time to tell that to the participants of the Boston Tea Party. Since that action clearly did not prove their point...

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